WASHINGTON — California Pastor Jack Hibbs told a crowd of Christian conservative activists over the weekend that the "silent" Church is to blame for the United States being a "post-Christian nation."
Hibbs, the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, spoke at the Family Research Council's Pray Vote Stand Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel last Friday. The annual event gathered hundreds of Christian conservative leaders and pastors who heard from many of the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidates.
The pastor said gatherings like the summit are essential because the Church "has been marginalized" and "set aside" in the United States. The 64-year-old stressed that now "more than ever [the Christian] faith needs to take a stand."
"We need to do this Church family like never before," Hibbs said.
"The Church has been viewed as something irrelevant. And listen, let's be honest. Much of that accusation against us is true. Somehow, the Church has gotten out of the lane of being the salt and light that God has called us to be."
Hibbs noted that he is "constantly labeled" as a "Christian nationalist."
"I don't accept labels. I don't accept intimidation. I don't accept bullying," he said. "Did God bring this nation into existence? To deny that is to deny God's work and to deny God's history. The nation of this country of ours is history."
"Do you want to be upset with me? I believe Jesus could come back tonight. I'm waiting for Him to return. But, if He doesn't return, I've got grandkids. And I've got to leave this nation in the right hands," Hibbs continued.
"[You might say]: 'But, pastor, that's political.' Let's talk about that. Should pastors be into politics? Yes, especially if they're going to run for office. I know a lot of pastors that have run for office. Many of them have been elected. God bless them. But, let's remember something," Hibbs added.
"God established His sacred institutions. Israel is one of them. The Church is one of them. Marriage is one of them. The family, right? And listen to this: according to your Bible, God established the government. Did you know that? He didn't invent politics. That's what man invented. When man doesn't want God involved in government, he turns it around, throws God out and makes it political."
Giving an example of someone he believes is an elected leader who is operating without God's guidance and direction, Hibbs mentioned California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has been in office since 2019.
"California is under attack. … The freeways are falling apart. We've got fentanyl and homelessness everywhere. And the state used to be one of the most iconic places on earth. But, [it has been] under a constant Democrat leadership of godlessness, hyper-driven on abortion," he said.
Throughout the 33 years Hibbs has been in pastoral leadership at his church, he said he has received pushback and criticism about his preaching on the idea of the importance of God playing a role in politically charged topics.
"'You can't talk about marriage because that's a political issue.' Really? I thought that was in my Bible. 'You can't talk about abortion because that's a political issue.' Really? I thought that was in my Bible. 'You can't talk about gender. It's a political issue.' Really? I thought that was in my Bible. Do you kind of get the hint of what I'm talking about here," Hibbs said.
"Everything that you do as a human being and as an American is based in the Scripture. There is no place to set both aside. Jesus said to 'Go into all the world and preach this Gospel, the Good News.' Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. Let's admit it. Our nation is a nation of sin, and we also are sinners," he continued.
"That's how we qualify for salvation, for crying out loud. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. … And this nation used to preach the cross. … Now, you raise Jesus in the public square, and you better have a helmet on. Why? We are a post-Christian nation, and we are starting to reap the detriment of that position. But how did we get here? We got here by being silent."
The pastor added that "all blame must be laid at the foot of the Church."
"When the pulpit waivers, the congregation waivers. When the congregation waivers, then the community waivers," he added. "Then evil fills the void. Then you wonder why in California there is a new majority that we have to deal with that constantly throws us against our faith, our freedom of worship to gather together."
"And then our governor said: 'all marijuana dispensaries are essential. Strip clubs are essential. All bars and liquor stores are essential," he added, referring to state shutdown mandates and designations amid the heightened stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Then, he shuts down other places and curtails Home Depot and other things like this. And he never answers about the church. He didn't mention the Church. The Church is not essential or non-essential. … The Church is transcendent. The Church is a living, breathing organism, born by the Holy Spirit, purchased by Jesus Christ and His blood."
Earlier in his sermon, Hibbs noted that the U.S. is living in "an age of fear" and an "age of worry."
"And yet, we as a nation, we should be, above all nations, able to take on fear because the founding of this nation was not upon some great government idea, was not upon some great political idea. Let's be honest. It was about the Pilgrim fathers crafting that Mayflower Compact of only … basically two paragraphs," he added.
"In those paragraphs of our nation's birth certificate, William Bradford and others wrote what the nation's purpose would be. ... They were announcing that to the shores. They had brought themselves to be ones who propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why they came."
Hibbs said, "History is full of the move of God," and it's vital for Christians to reflect on historical events to be inspired by servants of God who did the work that God blessed them with.
"Go back to 1605. When Pastor Hunt on the Massachusetts shores put up a tent from a broken sail from his ship and he preached the Gospel to the natives. Who wants to talk about that?" Hibbs said.
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post.